The misuse for political purposes of the concept of anti-semitism

Abuse of the term ‘antisemitism’

https://www.cpl.law.cam.ac.uk/sites/www.law.cam.ac.uk/files/styles/carousel/public/sedley_dwl_2016_carousel.jpg?itok=VLfIiLWw

Sir Stephen Sedley (born 1939), is a British lawyer. He worked as a judge of the Court of Appeal of England and Wales 1999-2011 and is currently a visiting professor at the University of Oxford. He became a QC in 1983, was appointed a High Court judge in 1992,and in 1999 was appointed to the Court of Appeal as a Lord Justice of Appeal. He was a Judge ad hoc of the European Court of Human Rights and a Member ad hoc of the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council.
His father was Bill Sedley (1910–1985), of a Jewish immigrant family, who operated a legal advice service in the East End of London in the 1930s. Bill Sedley founded the firm of lawyers of Seifert and Sedley in the 1940s with Sigmund Seifert and was a lifelong Communist.

Stephen Sedley slams IHRA (mis)definition

Speech given by distinguished retired Appeal Court Judge Sir Stephen Sedley on 27 March at a meeting in the House of Lords

Free Speech on Israel
March 27, 2017

The purpose of this meeting is to draw attention to a growing concern about the misuse for political purposes of the concept of anti-semitism. The misuse in question is the conflation of criticism of Israel with hostility to Jews. Its political purpose is to prohibit or inhibit discourse or action inimical to the state of Israel.

There are two distinct backstories to the catch-all meaning of antisemitism with which this meeting is immediately concerned.

One is the longstanding, and largely successful, endeavour to segregate antisemitism from racism. It has for a good many years been part of Zionist discourse to contend that racism is one thing – based on concepts of genetic inferiority – and antisemitism another, based on historical and theological as well as genetic factors. This is not the place to pursue the argument, save perhaps to note that anti-semites do not as a rule worry about whether their targets are observant, orthodox or secular Jews: their spleen is directed at members of a race.

The other backstory is the Zionist claim to represent all the world’s Jews – a claim welcomed by Islamic extremists. Nothing suits Islamic fundamentalism better than the idea that all Jews are equally implicated in the excesses of Zionism. The claim depoliticises Zionism and legitimises jihadist anti-semitism.1

Against this already dangerous backdrop, we are now looking at the no doubt well-intentioned but naïve adoption by our executive government of a protean definition of antisemitism which is open to manipulation and capture by the background interests I have mentioned. In this regard I would go rather further than Hugh Tomlinson does in his careful and well-reasoned Opinion. The governing proposition that antisemitism is “a certain perception of Jews, which may be expressed as hatred towards Jews” carries the clear implication that it may equally be expressed in other, unspecified, ways.

As Hugh Tomlinson says, this passage is vague and confusing; but I am not sure that the critique should stop there. It seems to me that its open-ended formulation has a thought-out purpose: to bring within the pale of antisemitism perceptions of Jews – possibly but not necessarily of all Jews – which fall short of hatred. While this may legitimately cover familiar antisemitic slanders about greed, clannishness and so forth, it is also capable of embracing perceptions of Zionism which are the subject of legitimate debate and disagreement.

Is there a single entity capable of being characterised as “the Jewish people”? Am I obliged to regard myself as bound by ethnicity to people like Benjamin Netanyahu?

That this is part of the intended reach is now becoming evident. One of the adopted examples is “Denying the Jewish people their right to self-determination, e.g. by claiming that the existence of the State of Israel is a racist endeavour.” This passage bristles with controversial assumptions. Is there a single entity capable of being characterised as “the Jewish people”? Am I obliged to regard myself as bound by ethnicity to people like Benjamin Netanyahu? Then, assuming that there is such an ethnic entity, from where does it derive a collective right to self-determination capable of defeating the right to self-determination of other peoples, above all the Palestinian people? There have been many Jews – my father was one – who long before 1947 opposed the Zionist project on the ground that Jewish exceptionalism was exactly what antisemitism needed.

Lastly, accepting as one must that the state of Israel, whatever has been argued in the past about its right to exist, is a geopolitical ‘fact on the ground’, why are people, including many Jews, not entitled, without being branded antisemitic, to regard it in its present form as both a colonialist and an apartheid state? The demand that criticism, to be legitimate, must be ‘similar to that levelled against any other country’ assumes that there are other countries which behave like Israel. There may well be, but how can this properly be a precondition of any criticism?

I will not travel over the consequential legal ground that Hugh Tomlinson so ably traverses. It is sufficient to emphasise these points:

The adoption by government of the IHRA’s “working definition” does not clothe it with any legal force. At the same time, it is not neutral: it may well influence policy both domestically and internationally.

No policy, however, can be adopted or used in defiance of the law. The Convention right of free expression, now part of our domestic law by virtue of the Human Rights Act, places both negative and positive obligations on the state which may be put at risk if the IHRA definition is unthinkingly followed. And s. 43 of the 1986 Education Act, while passed to deal with very different kinds of controversy, vouchsafes an individual right of free expression in all higher education institutions which cannot be cut back by governmental policies.

What is needed now is a principled retreat on the part of government from a stance which it has naively adopted in disregard of the sane advice given to it by the Home Affairs Select Committee.

1 For my part I am critical of the ECtHR’s judgment in CICAD v Switzerland, because it failed to recognise that the offending article, with its assertion that “when Israel is exposed … it is Judaism that is exposed at the same time” was a classic attempt to taint all Jews with Israel’s violations of human rights. Its author in my view had been rightly accused of antisemitism.

Archbishop of Canterbury to See First-hand israel’s Persecution of Christians

Archbishop of Canterbury to See First-hand Israel’s Persecution of Christians

The Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby. (Photo: via Social Media)

The Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, will make his first official visit to Israel and Palestine this May. The 12 day tour will see the Archbishop meeting with political and religious leaders while focusing on religious freedoms and challenges facing Christians in the Middle East.

The tour will be Welby’s first official visit to the Holy Land since becoming archbishop four years ago, although he made a private visit in 2013 during which he was criticised for not visiting Bethlehem.

The trip is planned to begin in Jordan where the Archbishop will hold talks with King Abdullah, he will then travel to Jerusalem, Tel Aviv, Nazareth and Bethlehem where he will hear about the challenges posed to Palestinian Christians by the illegal Separation Wall erected by Israel.

While any Jewish person can become not only an Israeli citizen but also a Jerusalem resident by virtue only of their faith, all Palestinian Christians who have been out of Jerusalem for more than seven years and/or acquired a foreign nationality or a residence permit abroad are liable to automatically lose their “permanent residency” in the city of their birth. For Jerusalem’s Christian community, this means, the number of Christians in the city is likely to drop even further.

The Guardian reported that Welby is planning to cross the imposing Separation Wall that Israel has erected to visit the birthplace of Jesus. He plans to meet the Christian Mayor of Bethlehem, Vera Baboun, and Palestinian Christians whose homes, land and livelihoods have been affected by the wall that partly runs beside Bethlehem and adjacent villages, cutting them off from Jerusalem.

The Archbishop’s trip to the region will be the most high profile visit by a Christian leader since Pope Francis toured the area in 2014. A year after the tour, the Vatican formally recognized the State of Palestine. The agreement called for moves to end the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and backed a two-state solution.

The treaty aimed to secure the rights of the Catholic Church on Palestinian territories in exchange for backing the two-state solution, and gives more weight to Palestine politically. Palestinian Christians will expect an equally positive outcome from the tour, once the Archbishop sees the extent of their persecution, especially by Israeli settlers who have torched a number of churches in Jerusalem.

The Palestinian Christian population has fallen dramatically since the creation of Israel. Christians make up two per cent of the population of both Israel and the Palestinian Territories – the number used to be around 15 per cent. In Bethlehem alone, the Christian population has slumped to 7,500 from 20,000 in 1995. While tension across the Middle East is said to be a reason for Christian flight from the “holy land” most cite Israeli occupation as the prime cause of emigration and the decline of the Christian community.

The sharp decline in the number of Christian Jerusalemites is the result of the implementation of Israel as a de facto state on this land.

Yusef Daher, executive secretary of the World Council of Churches, said. “The Israeli government policy throughout the whole history has been unilateral: turning Jerusalem both into a Jewish city and into the capital of Israel, while getting rid of all the Christian [and Muslim] Palestinians.”

israel bans annual Nakba march

Israel bans annual Nakba march

Ma’an – March 25, 2017

Israeli police rejects permit for annual March of Return commemorating Nakba

 

BETHLEHEM (Ma’an) — Israeli police have refused to grant a permit for the annual March of Return this year organized by Palestinians to commemorate the Nakba, or “catastrophe,” alongside Israeli independence day, Israeli media reported on Thursday.

According to Israeli newspaper Haaretz, Israeli police claimed that the event was refused due to their inability to provide police presence necessary for a march expected to be attended by 25,000 Palestinian citizens of Israel and their supporters, saying that “it’s unfortunate that the organizers decided to conduct the march exactly on the day of Independence Day, when there are hundreds of approved events throughout the country.”
The march, which has been held for 18 consecutive years, is aimed at highlighting the internationally-recognized right of Palestinians who remain refugees or internally displaced to return to their homes and villages in Israel, a right which is upheld in United Nations Resolution 194.
Each year, the march is launched from a site of a Palestinian village destroyed by Israeli forces in 1948.
Muhammad Bassam, an attorney from the Israeli rights group Adalah, reportedly said that if the permit for the march was not granted by Israeli police, the group would appeal to Israel’s Supreme Court. “The police decision is very strange and raises concerns that the refusal to approve the event is politically motivated,” he said.
Others pointed out to Haaretz that the organizers had already discussed the march with local police in the Israeli coastal city of Nahariya in order to launch the march from the destroyed Palestinian village of al-Kabri.
The Nahariya police had toured the planned route of the march two weeks prior, Haaretz reported, with the police already setting the police requirements for the march, leading some to suspect that the permit rejection was politically motivated.
The March of Return is usually held on Israel’s independence day to commemorate the Nakba, referring to the mass expulsion of Palestinians from their homes and villages during the 1948 Arab-Israeli war that established the state of Israel.
The official commemoration of the Nakba is held on May 15 and is observed by millions of Palestinians and rights activists around the world.
Some 750,000 Palestinians were expelled from their lands in 1948 and were scattered across refugee camps in the occupied West Bank, the Gaza Strip, Jordan, Lebanon, and Syria, according to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA). Today, there are over five million Palestinian refugees who remain displaced from their original homes and villages following the mass expulsion that occurred almost 70 years ago.

Dual US-israeli citizen arrested for wave of bomb threats against Jewish centers

Dual US-Israeli citizen arrested for wave of bomb threats against Jewish centers

RT | March 23, 2017

SEE ALSO New York Man Arrested for Spray Painting Swastikas on Own Home

A 19-year-old US-Israeli citizen has been arrested in southern Israel on suspicion of carrying out a wave of telephone bomb threats targeting Jewish centers and communities around the world.

The months-long, multi-agency investigation led Israel Police’s International Crime Investigations Unit to the city of Ashkelon, where the suspect and his father were arrested, and a search of their home was conducted on Thursday, local media reports.

“This specific investigation was complex in terms of the suspect and its nature,” Micky Rosenfeld, foreign press spokesman for the Israel Police, told the Jerusalem Post.

“There was a significant breakthrough in the investigation which led us to make the arrest of the suspect who lives in Southern Israel.”

“He was the main suspect behind the numerous amount of threats which were made to different Jewish communities and organizations around the world,” Rosenfeld added.

The Anti-Defamation League has recorded 165 bomb threats targeting Jewish institutions around North America since January, as well as in New Zealand and Australia in 2016, according to Haaretz.

“I commend the FBI and Israeli National Police for their outstanding work on this case,” US Attorney General Jeff Sessions said in a statement on Thursday, as quoted by Reuters. “The Department of Justice is committed to protecting the civil rights of all Americans, and we will not tolerate the targeting of any community in this country on the basis of their religious beliefs.”

The suspect employed a variety of advanced masking technologies to disguise his identity, Reuters reported, citing an unnamed police spokesperson. His motives remain unclear.

Police seized a range of equipment during the search of the suspect’s home in southern Israel, which could potentially have disguised his physical location and IP address from authorities, frustrating the months-long investigation, Haaretz reports.

The FBI has been investigating a spate of bomb threats made to Jewish centers in Florida, New Jersey, Delaware, Maryland, Tennessee, Georgia, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, and North Carolina, as well as similar threats to Delta Airlines.

The main break in the case came following a 2016 bomb threat to a Jewish center in New Zealand, after which authorities were able to trace the origin of the IP address to Israel.

The FBI, in coordination with the US Department of Homeland Security and other law enforcement agencies also traced the origin of the calls to the US back to an IP address in Israel and coordinated their efforts with Israeli authorities, handing over all relevant data to help with the investigation.

READ MORE:

Missouri man arrested for at least 8 Jewish center threats

Why israel is ‘Deeply Interested’ in Continuation of Syrian War

Source

Israel is likely to try to retain the existing status quo in Syria since it has benefited from the ongoing conflict in the war-torn neighboring nation, political analyst Sergei Balmasov asserted, saying that Tel Aviv’s combat missions are not aimed at President Bashar al-Assad, but are rather meant to prevent the crisis from being resolved.

“Israel is deeply interested in the ongoing standoff between the Sunnis and the Shia. Tel Aviv wants them to continue killing each other. Nothing presents a threat to Israel as long as this war is ongoing. The Israeli Air Force launches airstrikes against Shia militias in Syria, tipping the balance. This evens out the chances and the war drags on,” he told RT.

Balmasov, an expert at the Middle East Institute at the Russian International Affairs Council, also suggested that Israel could use a border incident to move its forces into southern Syria.

“One could not rule out that Israel does not deploy its troops to the southern buffer zone which borders the Golan Heights to create a territorial entity on the basis of Druze settlements using some kind of an incident as a pretext,” he said.Israel has largely refrained from taking an active part in the devastating Syrian conflict, but has occasionally sent its warplanes to launch airstrikes on Hezbollah in a bid to eliminate its leaders and destroy its weapons. Several such missions are reported to have taken place in recent days in what marks the most serious incident between Tel Aviv and Damascus since the 2011 foreign-sponsored insurgency in Syria morphed into a large-scale war.

It started on Friday, with the Israeli Air Force launching airstrikes on several Hezbollah targets near the Syrian city of Palmyra, close to an area where Russian experts have been engaged in demining efforts following the successful campaign to push Daesh out of the UNESCO World Heritage Site. The operation prompted the Syrian Arab Army to launch three anti-aircraft missiles at the departing Israeli planes, with Israel’s Arrow missile defense system intercepting one of the projectiles.

The incident sparked a war of words among high-ranking officials on both sides. On Sunday, Israeli Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman pledged that Tel Aviv would destroy all Syrian air defense systems “without thinking twice” should a similar situation occur in the future. Earlier this week, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu vowed that Tel Aviv would continue to carry out airstrikes on convoys suspected of transferring advanced weapons to Hezbollah.President Bashar al-Assad reiterated that it was Damascus’ right and duty to defend Syrian borders.

“Why has Israel squared off against the Syrian Arab Army? Israel views the SAA’s links to Hezbollah as unacceptable. Tel Aviv is concerned that the group could become stronger,” Irina Zvyagelskaya, a senior research fellow at the Center for Arab and Islamic Research at the Russian Academy of Sciences’ Institute of Oriental Studies, told RT

Brave but stupid talk from Netanyahu “israeli airstrikes in Syria will continue”

Netanyahu to Putin: Israeli airstrikes in Syria will continue

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said that he has told Russian President Vladimir Putin that Israeli forces will continue airstrikes in Syria if they deem it necessary.

“If there is feasibility from an intelligence and military standpoint – we attack and so it will continue,” Netanyahu said during a visit to China, adding that he had informed Putin of Israel’s intentions.

According to the Jerusalem Post, the Israeli PM also dismissed reports that Russia was insisting that Israel cease its military operations on Syrian territory.

On Monday, Syrian President Bashar Assad told visiting Russian MPs that he is counting on Russia to prevent further Israeli attacks on Syrian soil and to help Damascus avoid a full-blown conflict with Tel Aviv.

Russia’s Foreign Ministry summoned the Israeli ambassador to Moscow, Gary Koren, to demand explanations for the airstrikes Israel conducted near the Syrian city of Palmyra on Friday morning. Israeli Defence Force (IDF) warplanes hit several targets near Palmyra, allegedly destroying advanced arms provided to the Lebanese militant movement Hezbollah.

Syria’s air defense force fired anti-aircraft missiles at the Israeli planes as they were returning to base. Syrian media reported that one plane was downed, while Israel denied any losses.

Israel also said that it shot down one of the interceptor missiles with its Arrow long-range SAMs, which saw the first-ever use of the system in battle.

After the incident, Israeli Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman threatened that “next time, if the Syrian aerial defense apparatus acts against our planes, we will destroy it.”

READ MORE: Syria claims Israeli jet shot down after strike near Palmyra, IDF says all aircraft undamaged

In January, Damascus accused Tel Aviv of bombing the Mezzeh military airport west of the country’s capital. The airport was rocked by multiple explosions, with ambulances rushing to the scene.

The IDF has violated Syrian air space on a number of occasions, even before the conflict broke out in the country back in 2011.

Possibly the most infamous incident occurred in 2007 when an alleged Israeli raid destroyed a suspected nuclear reactor in Syria’s Deir ez-Zor governorate.

Poor victim: Jewish man arrested after spray painting swastikas on his own home in Upstate NY

Jewish man arrested after spray painting swastikas on his own home in Upstate NY

Ben Axelson — Syracuse.com March 21, 2017

A Jewish man in Upstate NY was jailed on Monday for falsely reporting racist vandalism to police.

Now, Andrew King, 54, of Schenectady, is facing a charge of Falsely Reporting an Incident in the Third Degree after police determined that he spray painted three swastikas on his home.

King originally reported that an unknown individual vandalized his home on February 10, WRGB-TV reported.

King was in Schenectady City lockup awaiting arraignment on Tuesday morning.

WTEN-TV reported that King was also arrested on an outstanding warrant for Harassment, stemming from an incident in which he allegedly threatened to harm another person in February.

Source

Jewish man finds 3 swastikas spray-painted on his home

Trishna Begam — News10 Feb 10, 2017

Swastike spray painted on the home of Andrew King. Click to enlarge

Swastike spray painted on the home of Andrew King. Click to enlarge

A devout Jewish man in the community stepped outside to symbols of hate spray painted on his property located on Chiswell Street.

Andrew King found three swastikas spray-painted on the front of his home when he stepped outside on Friday.

As a devout Jewish man, he was getting everything in order before sundown on Friday for the Sabbath.

“I said well time to dig out again. I looked and said what the hell is going on here.”

One was right on the door, another to the right as you enter, and the third swastika was spray painted for anyone to see from the road.

“Terror I don’t know. Maybe they are going to do more than that, maybe from spray paint to trying to harm me.”

King called Schenectady Police right away.

“I shed a tear because people don’t realize what they are doing.”

He isn’t blaming the political climate for this hateful act.

“My politics support most of Mr. Trump’s policies. I think they use him as an excuse and would do it regardless.”

Hoping to turn this hateful symbol into a lesson for the community and is considering leaving the swastikas up.

“I want to spread a message that enough is enough.”

There are no cameras in the neighborhood

Source

Related:

Jewish man arrested for string of anti-Semitic hate crimes

Jewish Man Caught Spray Painting Swastikas & Making “anti-Semitic” Threatening Phone Calls

Five Jews arrested for spray painting swastikas on Israeli consulate

NYPD charge Jewish man with anti-Semitic threats

Jewish student caught painting Swastikas on her own door then claiming Anti-Semitic Attack

3 charged in Pikesville vandalism

Woman Charged In Swastika Graffiti Spree

Jewish Graves Vandalised in France

Woman’s Swastika Ordeal Exposed as Fantasy

Campus Shocked by Allegation Professor Staged Vandalism

Calif. Professor Charged with Hate Crime Hoax

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